Box is buying document viewer and rendering vendor Crocodoc for an undisclosed amount, integrating Crococdoc’s HTML5 document viewing technology integrated into the core of the Box platform.

Box Crocodoc

That is not to say that Crocodoc will disappear completely as Box says that it will also be available as a core standalone platform enabling third party applications use the viewer across web and mobile devices.

Explaining the acquisition on the Box blog, CEO Aaron Levie said that the integration aims to change the way people view documents on the web.

…Remember how horrible watching videos with RealPlayer used to be? YouTube came along and fundamentally remade the online video experience. Similarly, Flickr, Facebook and others have made photos beautiful on any device. But documents have yet to tip for the web. They’re still clunky and awkward, often forcing users out of their browser and into a desktop application…,” he said.

Crocodoc Viewer

However, as the majority of content on the Web is still in documents and most business is still done through documents, Box is adding the viewer which provides HTML 5 viewing technology to the core of its platform and it will be available to its entire client base which Box says now encompasses 150,000 businesses and 15 million users.

Box, Levie says, along with Crocodoc is “reimagining the future of documents” by deeply integrating Crocodoc and, extending Crocodoc's HTML5 viewer to developers that are building any kind of an application that touches content.

Learning Opportunities

The Crocodoc team will join Box, with Crocodoc co-founder and CEO Ryan Damico serving as Box's Director of Platform.

Currently, Crocodoc technology provides HTML 5 viewing for applications like Yammer, Facebook, LinkedIn, Edmodo and Blackboard.Box says that it will continue to support these apps through Crocodoc. In fact, according Box, it’s all going to get better.

Box has committed to investing heavily in the Crocodoc viewer, which will become the principal viewing technology for all users, while the Crocodoc API will also become a core Box offering.